A study recently published in PLOS Biology provides information that substantially changes the prevailing idea about the brain formation process in vertebrates and sheds some light on how it might have evolved.
The findings show that the interpretation maintained hitherto regarding the principal regions formed at the beginning of vertebrate brain development is not correct.
Amphioxus, considered close to vertebrates, was used in the research.
This work shows that the brain of vertebrates must have formed initially from two regions (anterior and posterior), and not three (forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain), as proposed by the current prosomeric model.
The idea that these regions were formed independently and that each one of them has given rise to other regions has been proven to be wrong. “The brain has not evolved in isolation, but rather through the interaction of these primitive animals with the environment,” clarified the lecturer from the UMU. Paper. (public access) – Beatriz Albuixech-Crespo, Laura López-Blanch, Demian Burguera, Ignacio Maeso, Luisa Sánchez-Arrones, Juan Antonio Moreno-Bravo, Ildiko Somorjai, Juan Pascual-Anaya, Eduardo Puelles, Paola Bovolenta, Jordi Garcia-Fernàndez, Luis Puelles, Manuel Irimia, José Luis Ferran. Molecular regionalization of the developing amphioxus neural tube challenges major partitions of the vertebrate brain. PLOS Biology, 2017; 15 (4): e2001573 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2001573 More.
“The brain has not evolved in isolation, but rather through the interaction of these primitive animals with the environment”?) That sounds right to non-Darwinists but raises a lot of issues around causation. Epigenetics? Horizontal gene transfer? Symbiosis? Hybridization? Once we allow multiple causation, we have left the field of neo-Darwinian (or whatever we want to call it today) biology.
See also: Does intelligence depend on a specific type of brain?
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